The Smartest Man in the Room
So I’ve spent the better part of the past two days at the Wondercon Convention in San Francisco. I’ve seen a bunch of shit so far, but one of the clear highlights has been the opportunity to bear witness to the genius that is Grant Morrison, live and in person.
So far, I’ve seen him on two different events, and it’s clear that he’s the smartest entertainment affiliated speaker at this convention. On a “52” panel, Rucka, Waid, and Johns basically conceded that Morrison was the driving imaginative force beyond all the really cool shit in the rather ambitious undertaking. During his own 45-minute panel discussion he talked about ever he talked intelligently and eloquently on everything from multiple personality disorder, his radical-left upbringing, the practice of magic, religion (“I could launch a religion and take control of you all, but I know that would be wrong”) and “The Invisibles.”
But I go into further details, just so y’all don’t accuse me of burying the lead, let me say this:
It appears Grant Morrison is going to do a Batman title.
That is the extent of the information he revealed. He didn’t say when it was coming out. He didn’t say if it was going to be for a current title or they were starting a new one. He gave no other information. In fact, it sounded like he didn’t even want to reveal that he was even doing the title. The conversation went something like this:
Fan: You’re doing a great job with Superman. But I heard you said earlier today that you’re going to do a Batman title too.
Grant: Um, yeah, that wasn’t supposed to be revealed yet. I leaked that information when I shouldn’t have. So, uh, forget I said anything.
DC Rep sitting next to Grant: It never happened.
The only other thing I heard about it was friend a comic book writer friend of mine, who said the RUMOR he heard is one of the Kubert’s could be drawing it.
Bear in mind, this could not come together. But if it does come to pass, damn, that sounds cool.
Anyway, here are a few highlights of the thoughts and views he shared. Be warned, here be slight spoilers:
He’s working on a script for “WE3” right now. He said he’s adding some stuff into the story, as all three issues came out to about 96 pages, without much dialogue, which is on the short side.
He says he becomes much more emotionally involved with the stories that have characters that he creates, like WE3 (“Go Bandit, go! Don’t like them catch you!”) than he does with his contracted Marvel or DC work. However, he said he got very attached to the X-Men characters while writing “The New X-Men.”
“All-Star Superman” is his take on Alan Moore, in the Moore always as a clearly defined and planned beginning and end, where as Morrison likes to “dive in feet first and hope for the best.” With “All Star Superman,” he knows exactly where he wants to go with the story, and the overall theme of the story, which is Superman coping with middle age and the knowledge that he’s going to die, which he’s never faced before. Morrison added that since he himself is in his late 30s, he’s becoming familiar with that reality.
He likened reading comic books to taking a vacation, and while many other can give the reader a planned, organized, tour, his books were more like, “Well, we’re going to the jungle. We’re not sure what we’re going to do and see when we get there, and we might not all make it back alive, but we’ll have a fun time doing it.”
Morrison also maintained Superman could beat up anyone. It took all my strength and dignity not to follow his statement with a question about prep time.
He says besides the monthly box of free comics DC sends him every month, he enjoys reading stuff by Warren Ellis and the Ultimate-affiliated titles. He said his favorite comic series of all time was Brendan McCarthy’s “Strange Days.”
While working on “52,” Morrison said some of the writers specialized in storylines involving certain character. For example, he tended to handle stuff with Animal Man, while Mark Waid will write many of the Elongated Man storylines, and Geoff Johns will handle the John Henry/Steel stories. Morrison said one of his early “52” stories would concern Will Magnus, creator of the Metal Man. Specifically his mental breakdown after not being able to get the Metal Men to work.
He didn’t say much his upcoming work on “WildC.A.T.S.” other than the story took place five years into the future, in a time where the Spartan robot line has become very popular. In fact, nearly every family in the U.S. owns a Spartan-model robot.
He said the Seven Soldiers concept had its genesis as a title called “JL8,” which was going to be a DC version of the Avengers. The Guardian would play the Captain America part, Mister Miracle would be the Thor (due to his “god” heritage), etc. He eventually scrapped the idea in favor of the Seven Soldiers concept we all know and love. Morrison added that of the seven characters he came up with the most potential storylines with Frankenstein, the Guardian, and the Bulleteer.
Morrison said he thought “Seaguy” was the closest he ever came real commentary on how the world worked these days, and he expressed regret that he wasn’t allowed to finish the story with his second planned mini-series. He then revealed some of the story for Seaguy 2, should it be released. Remember, I’m making none of this up. But it’s Seaguy, so none of it has to make sense in any conventional way.
Okay, so it turns out that Seaguy’s new friend, a parrot, really isn’t his friend at all, and calls the authorities when Seaguy starts to remember his old sidekick, Chubby the Tuna. Seaguy then undergoes forcible personality adjustment, and is turned into “El Macho” the Matador. Except in Seaguy’s time, all cows and bulls are sacred animals, so matadors aren’t allowed to kill the bulls anymore. Instead, the matador’s must forcibly dress the bulls in women’s clothing. So anyway, Seaguy still remembers Chubby anyway, and leaves his pregnant wife to return to the sea. And then his wife gives birth to a Mickey-Eye. And that was all supposed to be in the first issue.
So that’s the scoop on Morrison. I’ll do more updates about Wondercon soon.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
The Smartest Man in the Room